Antibiotic resistant bacteria, also known as the drug-resistant ‘superbugs’ are a great threat to our health.
Centers for Disease control and prevention (CDC) have reported more than 2 million people die per year due to antibiotic-resistant infections.
Antibiotics are primarily used for killing disease-causing bacteria.
However, sometimes they also destroy the useful bacteria in our bodies which make up our microbiome.
Improper and excessive use of antibiotics is harmful in a way that it not only kills the good bacteria but also causes development of resistance in the infectious bacteria.
Curcumin, has also been added to the list.
Curcumin is the primary polyphenol of a great Indian spice Turmeric.
It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and anti-microbial properties have made it a popular remedy in the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine.
It was already known that curcumin has a potential of increasing the effectiveness of antibiotics like Beta-lactam and quinolone against the gram positive Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA) bacteria.
Scientists from Korea were now interested in learning about the mechanism of anti-microbial activity of curcumin against MRSA.
MRSA is often called a superbug as it is tougher to treat because it’s resistant to some commonly used antibiotics.
Published in the journal Molecules, the research investigates what effect curcumin has on sustainability of MRSA with membrane permeability agents, ATPase inhibitors and peptidoglycan. Changes in the morphology, oxacillin resistance and levels of PBP2a protein were also examined.
It was found that increase in membrane permeability increased the antimicrobial activity of curcumin and enhanced the sensitivity of resistant bacterial strains to antibiotics.
Curcumin treatment ruptured the cell wall and cell membrane and caused cell lysis of MRSA.
The scientists concluded – “The outcome shows that in developing natural antimicrobial agents against multidrug-resistant strains, this study on the mechanism of antimicrobial activity of curcumin may be potentially invaluable. Further, additional in vivo experiments are necessary for effective treatment.”
The study indicates that curcumin might be beneficial in increasing the sensitivity of drug-resistant bacterial strains to antibiotics.